What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is surprisingly common and can happen at any age, not just in adult relationships…Shop

It can also take different forms, and sometimes what seems like a 'normal' relationship can deteriorate over time into a pattern of abusive behaviour.

An abusive relationship rarely begins with violence. It often starts off with controlling behaviour, when someone continually hurts, controls or upsets the person they are with.

Although women and girls are more likely to be the victims of domestic abuse, it does happen to men and boys as well, and can also occur in same sex relationships.

What are the warning signs?

It is important to recognise the different kinds of domestic abuse and spot the signs that a relationship may be abusive. 

Emotional abuse can involve:

  • Checking up on you all the time, by looking at your emails, texts, facebook and other social networking sites
  • Keeping you away from your friends and family
  • Controlling what you wear or where you go
  • Calling you names or putting you down
  • Making you feel ashamed and guilty, and blaming you for everything.

Types of physical abuse include slapping, hitting, punching, pushing, biting, kicking, choking, pulling hair, pinning someone against a wall, or using weapons.

Sexual abuse includes unwanted touching or kissing - forcing you to have sex - pressurising you not to use contraception - making you watch pornography when you don't want to.

Examples of financial abuse are taking or controlling your money - forcing you to buy things you don't want to - forcing you to work, or stopping you from working.

What can I do?Names

If these warning signs sound familiar and you're worried about your relationship:

  • Always share your concerns with someone you trust, such as a friend, teacher, or youth worker and ask for help
  • Keep your mobile charged so you can call the Police for help if you need to
  • Set up a code word that will let your friends and family know if you need help
  • End it! This may be tough, but relationship abuse usually only gets worse if nothing is done to stop it.

Remember that it's not your fault.

Where can I get help?

You're not alone - a number of people can help you "break free" of an abusive relationship, or if your parents, friends or relatives are behaving this way and you don't know what to do.

If you are in immediate danger, always call Merseyside Police on 999.

Otherwise, you can get free, confidential advice and support from:

  • Childline - 0800 1111 (the number will not show on your phone bill
  • NSPCC  - 0808 800 5000
  • Safe2Speak - Support and Advice regarding Domestic Abuse for St Helens residents  01744 743200

You can get other useful information support, advice & guidance:

  • about a wide range of issues effecting young people fom YAZ (Youth Action Zone)
  • about sexual health for 13-19 year-olds from TAZ (Teenage Advice Zone).